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Your weekend weather

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Remember that scene in the Oscar-winning movie Network, the one where crazed news anchorman Howard Beale tells his viewers to stick their heads out a window and yell: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE?"

Remember that? Chances are you don't because it's a really old movie, but that's not the point. The point is, that legendary movie scene encapsulates how most of us are feeling about our (bad word) weather, which, by the way, is supposed to get a lot warmer.

Yes, spring is just around the corner. But when you hear that, you have a hard time believing it, because whenever it starts getting a little warmer -- BLAMMO! -- winter rears up again and wallops us on the side of our fuzzy tuques.

According to Environment Canada, today will be mostly sunny with a high of -7 C, compared with the normal high of -3 C at this time of year. On Sunday -- and you might want to sit down before reading this next bit -- we're looking at a high of 2 C. That's two degrees ABOVE zero!

The rest of the week will be sunny and a little up and down, but we should be hovering around zero by Thursday. So have we turned the corner? Is spring about to be sprung? If there is a symbolic corner to be turned, is that corner here or in Australia?

Here's how my buddy, Dale Marciski, from the weather office puts it: "The real cold air, the minus 30 degrees, is unlikely to come back. The sun is getting stronger every day, but there are always some years that are still kind of stormy in March and April.

"We hope that's not going to be the case, but there's no guarantee. It's still March and March is a month that tends to slip back and forth, so I'm not going to say we've turned the corner completely."

This weekend, Dale noted, a high-pressure system from the west is sliding in, bringing clearer skies and warmer temperatures. Last year, however, March was extremely snowy and spring didn't truly take hold until early May.

"We had 36 centimetres of snow last March, compared to the normal snowfall of 16.5 centimetres," Dale told me. "So far this March, we've had 15.4 centimetres. We'll keep our fingers crossed. I think we've all had enough."

Which is exactly what I was thinking earlier this week when, along with Creepy Santa, my three-foot-tall stuffed Santa doll, I headed up to East Selkirk to hitch a ride on one of three Amphibex icebreaking boats that have been smashing the frozen Red River since mid-February to prevent ice jams from forming.

Riding one of these steel beasts was a major thrill and Creepy Santa even got to sit in the captain's chair, which you can check out by watching this week's weather video by scanning the Blippar symbol in this column or visiting

Brian Sparks, captain of one of the 24-tonne icebreakers, said he was thrilled to hear the mercury is rising. "It feels like a heat wave," he chortled. When we asked him what people should do for fun this weekend, he snorted: "Stay away from the Red River!"

For fun that doesn't involve slabs of ice the size of aircraft carriers, head to the RBC Convention Centre for the annual Manitoba RV Show & Sale featuring two floors of everything you need to hit the open road. Tickets are $12.

If you prefer to enjoy the wilderness from the comfort of a spacious cottage, roll down to Red River Exhibition Park for the fifth-annual Cottage Country Show featuring the latest in cabins, cottages, docks and cool stuff for your backyard.

You can also herald the first signs of spring by treating yourself to an elegant evening of fine wines and cheeses in support of the Manitoba chapter of Osteoporosis Canada on March 13 at the St. Boniface Golf Club. Trust me, it will be a grape time. Tickets are $90 at 204-772-3498 or email

Most important of all, remember that Daylight Saving Time returns on Sunday. Once you've done that, go to your window, stick your head out, and I think you remember exactly what to scream.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 8, 2014 A2

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